End Hydrangea Color Confusion Now

By now, panicle hydrangeas are at their peak, bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas have shown their true colors, and smooth hydrangeas are mellowing into their soft fall hues. What do all of these hydrangeas have in common? Color. What’s one of the biggest sources of confusion for hydrangea lovers? Color. 

So to make you an expert on hydrangea coloring, I wrote an article covering each common hydrangea type and how/if they change color. You’ll learn why panicle hydrangeas like this double row of Fire Light® hydrangeas turn a dramatic dark pink in fall and, once and for all, how to change a bigleaf’s color! Side note: I’ve been visiting these stock fields as often as possible and I think it’s pretty easy to understand why.

Legend of the Fall® bottlebrush

This is the kind of color you probably picture for your dream garden. It’s complex, it’s fully saturated, it’s cheerful. The best part? This native shrub has more to offer than just fall color! It has fluffy spring flowers, dusty blue-green foliage in summer, and a busy, zig-zaggy structure that is revealed in the winter. We can hardly take our eyes off of it in the display gardens.

  • full (6+) to part sun (4-6 hours)
  • 4-5 ft. tall and wide
  • USDA zones 5-9 (-20°F/-28.9°C)

Can I prune my panicle hydrangea in the fall?

Yes, definitely! The timing is simply down to preference – if you like the look of the dried flowers over the winter, you can prune in spring. If you like to get the task done ASAP, you can prune in fall. We’ve filmed an entire video on the topic, check it out here.


Make the most of your balcony garden with these 7 tips.

Watch a double row of Fire Light® panicle hydrangeas change color over one month.

Get free, and funny, garden advice and info from Rick and Stacey on the first episode of our new info-packed gardening podcast,
Gardening Simplified.

Written by
Kristina Howley

Kristina Howley

I am all in when it comes to gardening. Almost every part of the experience delights me – new leaves emerging in spring, pollinators buzzing in summer, birds devouring berries in fall, and the somber beauty of seed heads in winter. Thanks to a background in horticulture and gardening my own clay-filled, flowery USDA zone 5b plot, I’ve learned plenty of practical things as well. I like sharing these joys and lessons with my fellow gardeners and soon-to-be gardeners any way I can.


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